How AI is Shaping the Future of Podcast Sound


PodMov Daily: Monday, January 10

Episode 565: Your Monday Mix

How AI is Shaping the Future of Podcast Sound

AI is already being used in podcasts more than most of us know, writes Shawn Cole, Head of Audio Production at Pacific Content. No need to wait for the future: “Robots can narrate a script, mix and restore audio, and insert ads on the fly and get smarter about where their listeners are located while doing it.” 

Cole speaks to a range of experts with fascinating takes on robot hosts (using tools like Descript), voice cloning technology and translation (Veritone), robot sound mixers (Auphonic), spatial and immersive audio (Atmos and Vaudeville), and even an AI-based podcast monitoring tool that can return topic searches in minutes.

AI voice cloning in particular is likely to be used much more for practical tasks, he says, making it easier for sound designers to save time and focus on craft. “I’m very excited to see how our industry can push things forward to make listener experiences match the promises that we so often make to them.”

Why Podcasting “Hasn’t Produced a New Hit in Years”

Lucas Shaw of Bloomberg has heard the same message, off the record, from “every corner” of the Spotify orbit: Chief content officer Dawn Ostroff “is upset that her company isn’t producing enough new popular podcasts, and has been putting pressure on her in-house studios to deliver.” Must be tough out there.

Executives across the industry worry that they’re burning money on new shows, Shaw writes. The 10 most popular podcasts in the U.S. are an average of seven years old, and “only a few” in the top 50 are less than two years old. He thinks the number of shows has outstripped audience growth to the point of unsustainability. 

New habits are difficult to form, and American listeners find comfort in consistency. Shaw says that this is a major motivation for development abroad: “It’s not that new podcasts can’t be hits. But the bar for being a hit is higher, which means it’s going to take longer (and a lot more work) to get there.”

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Here's what else is going on:

  • Read this: “Podcasting's surge isn't only about being an on-demand medium,” writes Edison Research SVP Tom Webster, comparing it to commercial radio. “It's about innovation. It's about taking risks. It's about closing the pool for renovations when it's easier to stick with the swimmers you have.”
  • Landscape shot: This Wednesday at 4:00 pm ET is “Field Reporting for Podcasts” from Podcasting, Seriously. Held on Twitter Spaces, the organization’s weekly meetup will feature an in-depth conversation with Pamela Kirkland, a Field Producer with CNN. No Twitter account needed to join.
  • Full package: This Thursday at 3:00 pm ET is “Creating a Podcast Pitch Deck and Budget,” a webinar from SoundPath. Bodies host and producer Allison Behringer will go step-by-step through building a compelling pitch deck and a realistic budget. $10 registration for non-AIR members.
  • Numbers game: Twitter Spaces is continuing to test podcast-like features, writes Amanda Silberling of TechCrunch. Spaces Recordings, to be in closed testing for “a bit longer,” shows creators how many listeners joined live, as well as how many people replayed the recording afterward.

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